Lydia Johnson


Lydia Johnson is a potter and designer who is currently an artist in residence and adjunct faculty at Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN. She received a BA from Messiah College in 2011 and an MFA from Alfred University in 2016. Her work has been exhibited at The Clay Studio, Northern Clay Center and Signature Shop & Gallery. She was the 2017 recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission and will have work featured in upcoming exhibitions at Lillstreet Gallery and the Artstream Nomadic Gallery.

As an artist, I digest the things in my life and in my subconscious that make me feel energized and alive. I think it is in those moments where I find purpose and meaning. When I reflect on growing up as a child, I remember vivid connections with certain things. One of of which was the book: Welcome Home by Kaffe Fassett. Fassett creates highly decorative and colorful objects through needlepoint, patchwork, knitting, painting and ceramics. I remember sitting and pouring through his book over and over again. At 12 years old, I wasn’t trying to figure out why I was so infatuated with his work, I just was.

As I’ve grown, I have come to see color and pattern as a form of nourishment. We live in color and pattern. We consume it. The history of objects celebrate our primal instinct to synthesize and react to what we see visually in our environment and culture.

I make functional pots out of double-sided, patterned clay slabs. I came to work this way by asking myself, how can clay be color/pattern? This question came out of response to my dislike of the term, “surface decoration” and its relationship to ceramics. In my work, visual, flat pattern and color function as fundamental structure. A double-sided, printed slab is my material. It is the “sine qua non”. It is the essence of the thing; an indispensable quality to the object’s existence and power.

Pottery is a very accessible art form. The physical language of pottery is a captivating avenue to explore the visual nature of three-dimension. All over pattern/color creates an engaging physical and visual relationship between user and object which I hope orchestrates synergy of the eyes, hands, mind and heart.